TRIBUTES have been paid to former Tranmere Rovers footballer Alex Russell who has died aged 78.

Born in Seaham, County Durham, the midfielder began his Football League career with Southport in 1963. 

He made almost 300 appearances for the Haig Avenue outfit before moving to Blackburn Rovers. 

Russell joined Tranmere in 1971, making 65 appearances and scoring seven times. His debut came in a 2-1 win against Wrexham on August 14 1971 and his final match was in a 1-1 draw against Halifax on October 13th 1972.

He returned to Southport before playing non league football for Formby for three seasons. 

Tranmere chairman Mark Palios played with Russell and described him as a "great guy and a great pro who always helped you when you were coming through."

A spokesperson for Southport FC added: "Alex is considered by many as one of the greatest players to wear a Southport shirt. "We offer our sincere condolences to all his family and friends."